Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Bolshie Koty (7th August 2010)

When we woke up it was pouring with rain and the prospect of hanging around till six for our boat was not a pleasant one. The hostel owner said we could probably just use our tickets on the midday boat and we thought it was worth a try. By the time we’d got ourselves rain geared up to walk the hill overlooking the village the Dutch sisters had already come back from walking there with their guide. Accompanied by the stray dog, which had taken up residence beneath one of the hostel huts/chalets we slipped our way up the track. The dog was evidently not starving as it turned its nose up at the rather old peanuts I found in my pocket. It did however seem intent on finding some food fresh out the hole and was digging wildly into the hillside. Having admired the village from above we could dry a bit before going to the boat where we got placed right near the front.

We’d been hoping we could look out at the coast we’d walked along, but the windows were all steamed up and the water was splashing wildly upon them outside. Yesterday the lake had looked so calm, but today it had become an entirely different beast. It was stormy and the boat was plummeting down from the tops of the waves. I was in slight disagreement with the Swiss couple across the corridor from us who could be heard saying things like ‘‘isch mega cool’ and ‘isch so geil’. Didn’t hear them saying that anymore when to our amusement they had to move further inside the ship and were looking rather peaky. I did feel a bit sick, but in preparation for our journey across the Pacific (and the Atlantic eventually) stayed in the front section of the ship and braved it out along with Jenny and two other passengers. Because of the inclement weather the boat couldn’t dock in Listvyanka, although they did try. Passengers with tickets to Listvyanka where given the option of getting off on the other side of the Angara in Port Baikal or continuing on to Irkutsk. In a funny Russian fashion they had to pay extra for journey to Irkutsk even though it wasn’t their fault that they couldn’t get off. At the hostel we met a fraud of a Dutch girl who studied linguistics and spoke English like an English person. It was very hard to believe that she was genuinely from Holland. Late into the evening the Swiss and French people who had been staying in the Bolshie Koty hostel with train tickets for the next morning arrived at the hostel. We’d been thinking they might not have been able to get back because of the weather, but it looked like that hadn’t been their problem. They just hadn’t realised the boat stops miles away from Irkutsk itself and had walked all the way from there in the dark.

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